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Testosterone and Prostate Cancer

Posted on September 12, 2011

A doctor friend of mine recently asked about the safety of testosterone replacement in men at risk for prostate cancer.

He was surprised by the results of these studies. According to these studies, testosterone can be safely replaced in men at risk for prostate cancer – and even in men who had been treated for prostate cancer already.

I’ve quoted some of the conclusions below, translating a few medical terms into English. Each article is followed by a link to the full abstract if you’d like to read more.

In the first article, the authors conclude: “After 1 year of testosterone replacement therapy, men with [prostate pre-cancerous growth] do not have a greater increase in PSA [a blood marker for prostate cancer] or a significantly increased risk of cancer than men without [prostate pre-cancerous growth]. These results indicate that testosterone replacement therapy is not contraindicated in men with a history of [prostate pre-cancerous growth].” Rhoden and Morgentaler, 2003
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14634413

In this article, the authors reviewed 44 studies looking at the risk of prostate cancer in men on testosterone therapy, including 4 studies of men with a history of prostate cancer. The authors conclude that of the 44 studies; “none demonstrated that testosterone therapy for [low testosterone] increased prostate cancer risk or increased [severity] of cancer detected in treated vs untreated men.” Shabsigh, et. al., 2008
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18633357

In this study there is a varied and extensive literature indicating that [testosterone replacement therapy] does not pose any increased risk of [prostate cancer] growth in men with or without prior treatment… The growing number of [prostate cancer] survivors who happen to [have low testosterone] and request treatment has spurred a change in attitude toward this topic, with increasing numbers of physicians now offering [testosterone replacement therapy] to men who appear cured of their disease… Although still controversial, there appears to be little reason to withhold [testosterone replacement therapy] from men with favorable outcomes after definitive treatment for [prostate cancer]…” Morgentaler, 2006
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16904053

In this study there is a varied and extensive literature indicating that [testosterone replacement therapy] does not pose any increased risk of [prostate cancer] growth in men with or without prior treatment… The growing number of [prostate cancer] survivors who happen to [have low testosterone] and request treatment has spurred a change in attitude toward this topic, with increasing numbers of physicians now offering [testosterone replacement therapy] to men who appear cured of their disease… Although still controversial, there appears to be little reason to withhold [testosterone replacement therapy] from men with favorable outcomes after definitive treatment for [prostate cancer]…” Morgentaler, 2006

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